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Jul 18, 2011 02:28 PM

looking for fresh sardines

where can i find fresh sardines preferably on the east side LA? ok, i'll be more specific, Pasadena, Glendale etc. any farmers markets? I was listening to Evan Kleiman's show this past Sat. and her guest was talking about making ceviche with fresh sardines. yum yum.

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  1. well, if you find some, let me know, because I've asked a few fishmongers from Whole Foods, several farmers markets, etc. and they all told me you could only find them frozen.

    With explanations ranging from "oh, you can't keep them fresh here in this climate" (whereas in the Mediterranean, somehow they can) to "the California Department of Fish & Game won't allow it" (by the same person who told me that "the only place in California I could find them would be in Monterrey").
    I've tried a couple of Koreatown markets as well but none carried fresh sardines. Haven't tried 99 Ranch because there isn't one next to me, nor any Japanese markets. You may have more luck there.

    Since tons of sardines mysteriously died in Redondo recently, I can only deduct that 1) these are local and sustainable delicious fishes that no one bothers to harvest here, for reason that don't make sense to me 2) maybe because most people don't know how to prepare a fish that doesn't look like steak?

    So, if you find them fresh somewhere without having to catch them yourself, let me know. I've been dying to grill some for ages, and frozen/thawed ones (which you can find at Whole Foods occasionally) are really not the same.

    99 Ranch
    17713 Pioneer Blvd, Artesia, CA

    3 Replies
    1. re: bad nono

      Do a search for Marina Del Rey bait company.

      They have bait receivers with live Sardines located on the South side of the MDR channel.
      They sell them for sport fishing.

      You'll need to bring your own bucket / cooler and I suggest some ice to take them back home with you.

      1. re: burntwater

        now that's an amazing tip. Thank you.

        1. re: burntwater

          Be careful... not all bait fish are human-edible (there are often warning labels) - I think they're sometimes harvested in areas with pollution levels that make them no-go for humans...

      2. mccall's meat and fish has had fresh sardines in the past. i'm told fish king, in glendale, gets them occasionally, and if you give them your name, will notify you when they have them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: linus

          I also recommend McCall's Meat and Fish Co. in Los Feliz.

          The best way to find out what they have is to follow them on Twitter. Their website isn't updated regularly but they 'tweet' every other day or so about what's in. Honestly, they are my favorite protein source at the moment...

          A few days ago, they put out a beautiful pictures of their fresh Sardines. Also, call them for expected delivery.

          As to the Marina del Rey bait option...I applaud the idea but I can't get over the water quality that the bait are swimming in.

          McCall's Meat and Fish
          2117 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

        2. Hawai'i Supermarket had them this weekend.

          1. Many of the Japanese markets often have fresh sardines...Mitsuwa, Marukai and even Nijiya on occasion. Unfortunately as far as I know those aren't very close to you. If you go, call ahead, ask for the fresh fish department, and see if they have fresh sardines in stock. I see often see sardines at Marukai but I wouldn't say that I see them all the time.

            On another note, sardines do not last very long at all. Even the ones I've bought at Marukai, although I could say they were fairly fresh, I couldn't say that they were good enough to make ceviche out of. Local sardines are good fish but they're not the best in the world to eat raw unless you get them the day they are caught.

            1 Reply
            1. re: la2tokyo

              yes, i'm familiar iwashi but not the ones i'm looking for. not fresh enough. usually frozen b/c they deteriorate too fast. i want to soak then in vinegar and salt and eat them chopped up with herbs!

            2. J & P West Coast Fish of San Pedro sells at several farmers’ markets and often has fresh sardines. I usually grill them like I recall them from visits to Portugal and Morocco. You might want to call them in the middle of the week to see if they expect any sardines and to find out what markets they will be at. I do know they go to Hollywood but probably no further north or east. 818 681 9748 or

              By the way, how did Glendale and Pasadena become the east side?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Ringo Gato

                i'll try J&P again. they didn't have them this past saturday. when i say "eastside" i'm talking about general direction since i don't have the time to travel too far west and i'm situated in pasadena. not as in "the eastside" as most LA people seem to identify with silverlake, echo park, etc. what's your east side? east LA? i know people from east LA who laugh at me when i call echo park eastside.

                1. re: trolley

                  I got some fantastic, fresh sardines from J & P West Coast Fish at the farmers' market this past weekend. With seven sardines weighing a total of two pounds, they were much bigger than the usual fare. I was hoping to find a sardine ceviche recipe on Evan Kleiman's Good Food podcast (as you referred to) but couldn't find anything. So I grilled them as usual, closed my eyes and pretended to be somewhere on the Mediterranean Sea

                  1. re: Ringo Gato

                    which farmers market was that? They are the ones who told me specifically that they never had fresh sardines, only frozen, and rarely "because they don't keep". If they indeed have some fresh sardines I see some grilled ones in my immediate future. Thanks for the tip!

                    1. re: bad nono

                      I buy from them at the Sunday Long Beach and Saturday Cerritos markets but they are in Hollywood, Redondo Beach and a few other sites. They rarely sell previously frozen fish (and identify it as such) and I have never seen them sell frozen sardines.

                      1. re: Ringo Gato

                        Pete of J & P West Coast Seafood had fresh sardines on Monday morning at the WeHo farmer's market in Plummer Park. He doesn't have them every week though. Best to call first.